Fourth Friday: Slow Sunsets

I’m still processing, literally and figuratively, all my images from Block Island.  On this final Friday of the month I’d thought I’d share a few sunset images.  Who doesn’t like a good sunset?  Everyone loves them and photographs them to the point that I’ve been known, in my snippier moments,  to say that I don’t photograph sunsets.  But here I was in this glorious place with the ocean and the wide open spaces, so why not spend at least one evening trying to capture that magic?  Oh what an evening this was!  Most of the week that I was on Block Island was completely void of clouds, nothing but pure blue wide open skies.  That’s nice but doesn’t make for very interesting images of sunsets, necessarily.  It good to have something for the light and color to bounce off.  Finally on the 6th day, we had clouds.  So I headed to the old Coast Guard Station at the end of Champlin Rd.  Then I hiked all the way out to the end of the point that is the entrance to the Great Salt Pond and around  to the beach that overlooks the Block Island Sound, the space of ocean between Block Island and the Connecticut coast.  (if you’re interested you can see it on the map here. I was in the yellow area)  I only saw one person and his 2 dogs for the 2 hours that I spent on that beach.  So peaceful!

I wanted to somehow capture the magic of the sunset but in a way that caused one to see it somehow differently.  Being around the water was a perfect opportunity to practice my long exposures so I figured I’d see what that did for sunsets.

This first image was captured about a half hour before sunset.  You can see that the sun is still up in the clouds but it was starting to create come interesting colors.  This was a 50 second exposure which shows in the smoothness of the water and the movement of the clouds.   Waves were crashing on the beach, but over 50 seconds they get smoothed over and you no longer see them.  That tended to exaggerate the colors in the water.

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This image was taken just a bit past actual sunset with 58 seconds of exposure.  That means the shutter was open for almost a minute, letting light in all that time and recording the movement of the water and clouds.  I like the way the light reflects off the water where it hits the beach, that one strip of golden light against the dark blue of the water and darker blue of the beach.

 

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This was taken almost 10 minutes later, well past actual sunset.  It is a long exposure of a different kind.  I call this a “swoosh”.  The exposure time is 1/4 of a second, far less than the previous two that were closer to a minute long.  One quarter of a second sounds pretty fast but in photography, with anything slower than about 1/6oth of a second or faster any sort of movement can cause the image to be out of focus and blurred.  That’s not always good, unless that is what you want.  I love to shoot this kind of image.  It seems like pure play.  It takes a bit of practice to get it to create anything pleasing but it’s great fun.  I put the camera on a slower shutter speed, hand hold it, and purposely move it during that 1/4 of a second or whatever the exposure is.  In this case, I knew I wanted to exaggerate the lines of the beach and horizon, so as I pressed the shutter I also moved the camera along those lines, like a swoosh.  It’s a bit more abstract, but I tend to like that.

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How can slowing down help you to see things differently?

I have lots more to share from Block Island and other adventures but that’s all for today.

 

2 thoughts on “Fourth Friday: Slow Sunsets

  1. Andi

    Wow, Gail!!!!!!! I love these! And they are especially great in the black framing. Just beautiful. It was worth getting up this early (4:15am) after all!

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